Chuck Prentis, 59 of Centerport, was at the right place at the right time this past May, when he was bicycle riding up a very steep hill in Port Jefferson and suddenly went into cardiac arrest in front of St. Charles Hospital on Belle Terre Road.
All of the stars aligned that day for Prentis. St. Charles nursing assistant Drew Saidler was in the emergency room and heard the outside cries for help. He immediately sprang into action and performed life-saving CPR on the lawn where the rider had fallen from his bicycle.
A St. Charles security officer alerted the emergency room staff of the incident and the medical team immediately ran out to assist Saidler. At the same time, Middle Island Fire Chief Bill Nevin happened to be driving by the scene at that very moment, jumped out of his car with an automated external defibrillator.
Prentis was placed on a stretcher, with nurse Kirsten Connolly on top, performing life-saving compressions as Chuck was being rushed into the emergency room.
As it turns out, Chuck suffered from a widow maker which is the most severe kind of heart attack, where there is almost 100% total blockage in a critical blood vessel called the left anterior descending artery.
Prentis has a family history of heart disease. His father passed away at a young age of a heart attack, his older brother had open heart surgery and also survived a widow maker and his older sister required a stenting procedure due to blockages.
Knowing that he had a family history, he lived a healthy lifestyle and exercised frequently on the Peloton bike – about 130 miles a week. He never had any symptoms prior to that day in May when he went into sudden cardiac arrest.
Once stabilized at St. Charles, Chuck also required another procedure to implant an Impella device typically used in patients with severe heart failure, to help flow of blood to the heart.
Prentis is not quite back on the Peloton, but for now enjoys playing golf and spending quality time with his wife and three sons. He and his family are extremely appreciative of the emergency room staff who sprang into action that day. Each one was instrumental in saving his life. One might say, it is a miracle that Prentis was at the right place at the right time and received the lifesaving care he desperately needed.